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Playas del Coco

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Playas del Coco is a small beach town in Guanacaste province, on the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. It is close to several beaches including Ocotal, Playa Hermosa and Playa Panama.

Get in[edit]

The closest major city is Liberia (Costa Rica).

By air[edit]

It is 30 minutes by taxi from Liberia International Airport.

By bus[edit]

5 hours from San José (Costa Rica), 3 buses per day leaving San José at 8am, 2pm and 4pm and returning from Playas del Coco at 4am, 8am and 2pm. 1 hour from Liberia, buses every hour until 11am and then every 2.5 hours until 6:30pm. The bus company is called Pulmitan 2222-1650. It is possible to get to San José via Liberia if the direct services are full.

Every Tuesday and Friday there is a shuttle service that picks up from Tamarindo and brings riders to Playas del Coco for $20. This service is hosted by Pure Vibes (+506 2670 0273) that is based in Playas del Coco. They also offer $5 off accommodation at their resort ([17]) if you ride the shuttle.

By car[edit]

It is a 4 hour drive from the Capital, San_José_(Costa_Rica).

Get around[edit]

Bus: There are buses that travel the roads between Coco and nearby beaches, but they are often crowded and uncomfortable.

Taxi: Depending on the season, from a handful to far too many to count local taxis will take you around Coco, as well as to nearby beaches, for anywhere from $2-10 dollars per trip. If you're only in Coco for a few days and don't want to invest in a rental car, this is your best option.

Rental Car: This is the best way to tour Coco and surrounding areas, and essential if you plan on staying more than a few days. It's recommended that you rent a 4x4, but a 4x4 is not necessary if you're a careful and competent off-road driver who understands the limitations of a car.

Try not to leave any valuables unattended in your rental car, for thieves like to look around. Also, local police will not hesitate to pull over a tourist for speeding, so follow the speed limit closely.

See[edit][add listing]

This area of Costa Rica is short on historical attractions, museums, art galleries, etc. If you're in Coco, you're going to see beaches, wildlife, and enjoy the sun.

Popular beaches near Coco include Hermosa, Ocotal, Flamingo (incredibly popular with the locals on weekends), Panama, and a handful of remote beaches on the Papagayo peninsula (including the beach at the Four Season Papagayo). Further away, Tamarindo is an excellent surf beach for beginners, as well as a more commercialized beach town. If you're looking for something and can't find it in Coco, it's probably in Tamarindo (a little more than an hour away).

Downtown Coco beach is worth a look, especially after nightfall. You'll find drinking, dancing, and dining options, and even a couple of casinos.

Coco is also a great place to stay while exploring nearby natural wonders like the dormant volcano Rincon de la Vieja (about 1.5 hours driving time), Lllano de Cortes waterfall (about 2 hours drive time), and dozens of beaches within 1-2 hours drive (too many to mention, in fact). Jungle tours are also popular, and most of the local tour providers include a "zip line" tour as the main attraction.

Coco is fairly far away from Arenal, a recently active Volcano that is a must-see of any Costa Rica visit. Therefore, if you plan on staying in Coco, you might want to set aside two days of your trip to visit and stay at a resort near the Arenal volcano.

Do[edit][add listing]

The main beach in Coco is under renovation with a new boardwalk but it is still not the best looking beach. However, it's a great place to rent a boat for an excursion to nearby "Gorilla rock" (also known as "monkey's head rock") as well as some mangrove swamps up the coast. A boat can also take you to some very good quality snorkeling just off-shore. If you decide to rent a boat, be sure to negotiate hard. Often times you will be asked to pay twice as much when you first ask for a price.

If you have a rental car, you can drive to either Ocotal or Hermosa beach. Both of these beaches are much cleaner and only 5-10 minutes drive away. If you're looking for a nicer beach and/or a longer trip, you can drive over to the Four Seasons Papagayo, park just outside the front gate, and then walk to the beach (in Costa Rica, all beaches are public, so they can't stop you from hanging out on their "private" beach).

There is company called Native's Way Guanacaste[18]that based in Playas del Coco that has grouped all of the best tours of Guanacaste together and offer some of the lowest rates. Their National Park tours are amazing, they use guides that grew up on the volcano that know the land like the back of their hand. They can show you secret trails and point out wildlife you wouldn't have otherwise seen. But they also offer great canopy ziplining, sailing, tubing, stand up paddle boarding, you name it. They offer transportation and often a drink at the end of your tour. Definitely check them out if you want to know what is offered in the area

A local resident named Dr. Will [19] offers an early-morning wildlife tour that will introduce you to Costa Rica wildlife right under your nose. Will is a retired veterinarian who lives in nearby Ocotal and offers individual tours for $30-40 per person, depending on the group size.

Deep sea fishing excursions are definitely available as well - the best is Papagayo Sports because they have a toilet and covered boat for half and full day, not to mention a delicious BBQ lunch on one of the beaches. The also work well with other fishermen so if you need something else they can get it for you. Call Nicole at 8787.7000 If you decide to ask around on the beach in the late afternoon to find the best deal for the following day make sure they are reputable and members of the Fishermen Assoc. You can also hire a boat to take you surfing off-shore near world famous Witch's Rock just up the coast from Coco. However, if you're new to surfing or not willing to invest in an all-day boat tour, you might consider driving about an hour to nearby Tamarindo. The surfing there is very good for beginners and kids.

There are many reputable dive companies in town including Summer-Salt[20], Deep Blue Diving [21], as well as the a new shop located in nearby Playa Ocotal called Rocket Frog Divers [22]. All employ people who have great depth of knowledge of not only what is in the ocean but what you can find on land. This area is where tours often depart to visit the Bat Islands (Isla Murciealago) as well as the Catalinas. If you want to go sailing the Kuna Vela [23] is a large charter sailboat with experienced and knowledgeble crews.

Finally, much like any tourist-oriented community in Costa Rica, you will find organized jungle tours that include zip-line rides. While there are half-a-dozen local tour operators and zip-line operations, you might consider visiting the Hacidenda Gauchipelin [24] for an all day package that includes a good quality zip line tour, and then your choice of a waterfall visit, a horseback ride, a soak in a mud bath, etc. Hacienda Guachipelin is about an hour away from Coco, but it's reasonable value and offers nice views of the dormant volcano Rincon de la Vieja.

  • El Viejo Wetlands - Palo Verde Tour, 24 miles a away from El Coco Beach (Guanacaste), +506 2296-0966, [1]. daily. Activity Choices · Palo Verde by Boat · Eco Ride / Electric Shuttle · Canopy Tour · Sugar Mill Trapiche $40.  edit
  • Summer Salt Dive Center (Playas del Coco), 100m sur del parque (Guanacaste 5019), (506) 2670-0308, [2].  edit
  • Native's Way Guanacaste, (506) 8659-6432, [3]. Guanacaste Tour Specialists: National Park Tours, Canopy Zip lining, Kayak, Horseback Riding, Stand up Paddle Boarding & Yoga, Sailing, River Tubing, Arenal Volcano  edit
  • Rocket Frog Divers (Diving in Costa Rica), 3km outside of Playa del Coco in Playa Ocotal (Playa Ocotal, Guanacaste Costa Rica), (506)2670-1589, [4]. 8AM-6PM. $80 for local 2 tank dive. (10.545766,-85.720988) edit
  • Sea Shell Catamaran, Serena Suites, on the way to Ocotal, Playa del Coco, 88880225, [5]. half day snorkeling sailing sunset cruise on a comfortable 38 ft catamaran $80.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Downtown Coco is the best place to find deals on clothes, souvenirs, and trinkets. While you can definitely negotiate prices, you may find that shop keepers are unwilling to work with you. Bare in mind that prices are different for tourists, so it never hurts to ask for the "Tico price" when buying any goods.

You can check out the local Coco classifieds site for used stuff and services here, [25]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Downtown Coco has some night life and quite a few restaurants. The Coconutz Sports Bar right on main street offers a wide selection of local and familiar foods.

A small cafe on the western edge of Coco called Pato Loco is a good place for breakfast or lunch, and there's a hamburger stand very close to Pato Loco that serves excellent yet inexpensive hamburgers.

  • Che Sirloin, Blvd Principal (50 meters east of the Banco Nacional), +50684677664 (). A humble roadside eatery run by a Mexican-Argentine family, Che Sirloin serves burgers, fries, artisanal choripanes and tacos. Fresh, delicious and inexpensive. The burger patties and choripanes are all made in-house, and grilled by the friendly owner while you wait. BYOB only. $2-$5.  edit
  • Pure Vibes Cafe, 200 mts north of Lizard Lounge (In front of Laura's House), +50626700273, [6]. 8.30am-9pm. Restaurant located in the Pacific Palms Hostel, 200 mts north of the main strip. Caribbean wall art, garden with gazebos and swinging hammocks, swimming pool with hot tub and the sounds of classic reggae and modern roots and culture bring together a uniquely themed restaurant. Jamaican & Costa Rican cuisine's. $5-$15.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Villa Buena Onda, (1)800-606-1860, [7]. A magnificent 7-bedroom rental home over looking the Pacific Ocean from Playa del Coco. Kitchen, lounge, infinity pool, swim up bar and all inclusive service are included. Villa Buena Onda is a unique, luxurious experience that awaits you on Costa Rica's Golden Coast. A quick 25 minute trip from the Liberia International Airport.  edit
  • Cabinas Don Carlos, (506)-8887-3192. checkout: noon. A simple, clean, quiet jewel of a little home, with about seven rooms, run by a kind, laid back Costa Rican family, and a cat named Cleopatra. 30 seconds from the beach and closer to a 24 hour store. You can rent motorcycles ($80/day) and bicycles ($10/day) here. They also offer tours to the local natural hotspots. You can eat delicious home cooked meals for cheap. It's a five minute walk to a main scuba pick up spot: super convenient! This micro-hotel is three doors to the right of the bright green Catholic Church, off the main road, towards the beach from Lizard's Bar. $40-60.  edit
  • Casa Vista Azul, (506)-670-0678, [8]. Casa Vista Azul is a boutique hotel located on the hillside overlooking Coco Beach Bay. It's only minutes from Liberia airport and several area beaches. It offers stunning views of Playa del Coco, every room has an ocean view. The hotel is brand new, enjoy al-fresco breakfast on the balcony, and a cocktail on the roof. $110.00.  edit
  • Cabinas Coco Azul, (506)-670-0431, [9]. [10]. The place is managed by an American and offers nice cabins and apartments in affordable prices. Probably the most economic option in town for backpackers.  edit
  • Green Mystery, (225)-304-0287, [11]. [12]. This is a group of privately owned cabinas on the outskirts of Coco and surrounded by jungle. Owned and operated by Canadians Sandra and Garth, each cabina is pet and family friendly, includes a small kitchen with two bedrooms. You'll need a rental car if you stay here. $75.  edit
  • Hotel Coco Palms, [13]. [14]. A quaint hotel right on Coco beach with a surprisingly nice pool, restaurant, and bar. Very popular with Europeans, rates are often very affordable and downtown Coco is right out the front door.  edit
  • Coco Cabinas, 800m north of town centre, 88008301, [15]. 2 newly built apartments, each with space for up to 6 people, private bathroom and furnished kitchen. 5 minutes drive from Playa el Coco beach. 50-100$  edit
  • Serena Suites, 400m west from Chicos bar on the road towards Ocotal beach, (506) 2670 2184 (), [16]. checkin: 2:00; checkout: 10:00 am. 17 newly built and furnished 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condos, fully equipped kitchen, automatic washer and dryer, Internet, towels and linens provided, max occupancy 5 pax, 3 minutes drive from both El Coco and Ocotal Beach. There is a beautiful tropical pool and gardens, 24 hour security and lots of free parking inside the gate. $100 approximate.  edit

You can expect above par service at this establishment and a very relaxed atmosphere while being here. We encourage that you plan to stay a little longer, as you will immediately feel at home when you enter our gates.

Pure Vibes Backpackers Resort is centrally located in the beach town of Playa del Coco, Guanacaste. Our property is only 50 meters from the beach, and just 200 meters from the main street and heart of downtown.We offer a range of accommodation types from Private rooms, to Mixed, and Female only dormitory rooms. Every room is Air conditioned and contains its own en-suite bathroom. </sleep>


For Local Coco News, Classifieds and Events check out EL Coco Beach [26]

Also, check out Playas Del Coco's Facebook page here [27]

Get out[edit]

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